Minutes after the opening bell at Albert Einstein Middle School in Sacramento, a quiet calm swept across a classroom of eighth-grade students who listened, eyes closed, as U.S. history teacher Thomas McKenna guided them to a mindful state.
“An emotion comes in. You acknowledge it. And you move on,” McKenna intoned Wednesday before reading a poem, “Guest House” by Jalal al-Din Rumi. The poem urged students to meet dark thoughts, shame and malice “at the door laughing.”